8 Athlete’s Foot Treatment Options Proven To Work

Did you know that 15% to 25% of people are likely to develop athlete’s foot during their lives?

That’s not even the most shocking part – this fungal infection can spread from one person to another and other parts of the body!

This article discusses some of the most effective athlete’s foot treatment options available based on previous studies.


Most people don’t like the smell of garlic, but it is one of the most effective treatments for athlete’s foot. One study revealed that garlic treated 79% of participants after seven days!

Crush four to five cloves of garlic and then rub them over the affected area twice a day.


Fungi can’t survive in the same environment as alcohol, which is why this method effectively treats fungal infections like athlete’s foot. But the only downside of this treatment option is that it targets surface-level infections.

Use a clean cloth or towel to apply alcohol directly onto the affected area. You can also soak your foot in a footbath consisting of 70% alcohol and 30% water for 30 minutes.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil treats acne, lice, insect bites, nail fungus, and others. It is an essential oil deriving from the Australian tea tree and available in the form of lotions, soaps, and other over-the-counter medications.

Consult your doctor for specific instructions on applying tea tree oil onto the affected area.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it a great alternative for treating athlete’s foot. It is commonly used in many households for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces or as a mouth care product.

For best results, soak a clean towel with hydrogen peroxide and then apply it to the affected area twice a day.

Over the Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications come in the form of sprays, ointments, lotions, powders, etc. OTC medications can treat most cases of athlete’s foot. However, it is important to note that these medications come with different instructions relating to dosage, storage, and so forth.

It is therefore important to consult a foot doctor for the right treatment option for you

Talcum Powder

Talcum powder is a drying agent.

Given that fungi thrive in moist environments, talcum powder makes it almost impossible for fungi to grow and spread. This powder also eliminates friction when applied on a surface.

Friction between the foot and shoe is one of the many causes of athlete’s foot.

Clean and dry the affected area, and then apply talcum powder before putting on socks.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is mostly used as an insecticide, but studies have shown that it can treat fungal infections in humans. It is usually available in many forms, including oils and extracts.

Apply the oil or extract onto the affected area preferably thrice a day until the infection subsides. Then, for best results, massage it gently into the skin until it dissolves.

Footcare Routines

Most foot care routines for athlete’s foot revolve around maintaining clean and dry feet at all times. Here are some proven tips:

Change Socks Frequently

Individuals who wear socks for long hours have a higher chance of developing athlete’s foot. This is because sweating in the foot creates the right atmosphere for fungi to grow and spread. It is, therefore, a great idea to change your socks at least once a day or even more frequently, especially in hot environments.

Proper Cleaning and Drying

Clean your feet thoroughly, preferably with an antifungal solution, by targeting the spaces between your toes. Such spaces usually attract sweat and moisture, which support the growth of fungi.

You may use a clean and dry towel to get rid of moisture after rinsing your feet or a dryer set on cold.

Avoid putting on socks right after a shower – feet may continue to sweat even after a hot shower. Instead, allow your feet to sit for a few minutes after drying before putting on your socks.

Change Shoes Frequently

A shoe traps moisture deriving from friction between your foot and the inner parts of the shoe. Therefore, you may still be at a high risk of getting reinfected with athlete’s foot if you wear moist shoes, even if you clean and dry your foot correctly before putting on a sock.

One thing about moisture trapped inside shoes is that it does not usually appear or feel moist. This is because most shoes have inner walls made of materials that absorb moisture, but not all shoes are designed similarly.

The surest way to get rid of moisture from shoes is by rotating them. Shoe rotation allows each pair to dry, eliminating the chances of fungal infections.

When To Seek Medical Attention

Most cases of athlete’s foot can be treated at home. However, it is advisable to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms in the infected area:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling

Or anything in between.

It is also important to note that bacteria and fungi can coexist in the same environment, which is why you need to consult a foot doctor if you experience any or both of these symptoms.

For instance, the problem of foot pain while walking derives from a wide range of issues.

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The Bottom Line

Athlete’s foot can be treated with proper foot care techniques. While most of these treatment options can be practiced at home, some may require an expert’s intervention.

Rotating your shoes and socks and keeping your feet clean and dry helps prevent the growth of fungi, which causes athlete’s foot. You may also consider getting special shoes designed to prevent athlete’s foot. Such shoes are highly recommended, especially if you work outdoors for long hours in extreme temperatures or when involved in high-intensity activities such as sports.

Now that you know how to treat athlete’s foot, click here for a more indepth look at the symptoms and causes.